Intraoperative myocardial ischemia detection with laser-induced fluorescence

K. A. Horvath, K. T. Schomacker, C. C. Lee, L. H. Cohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Myocardial ischemia can be detected at the mitochondrial level by measuring shifts in nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide and its reduced form. Using a pulsed nitrogen laser and an optical multichannel analyzer, we monitored myocardial metabolism by measuring laser-induced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (reduced form) fluorescence in a large animal model of acute ischemia. Eight opened-chest sheep underwent occlusion of branches of the left anterior descending coronary artery, establishing a 15% infarct of the left ventricle. For the simulation of the clinical scenario, after 60 minutes of occlusion, the animals were supported by cardiopulmonary bypass, the aorta was crossclamped, and cold crystalloid cardioplegic solution was administered. The occlusion was removed after 10 minutes, and two additional doses of cardioplegic solution were delivered at 10-minute intervals. The aortic crossclamp was released, and a 30-minute period of reperfusion on bypass ensued. The hearts were then weaned off bypass and allowed to recover. Laser-induced fluorescence was measured inside, outside, and along the border of the infarct. Baseline measurements were made before occlusion, immediately after occlusion, and then at 5, 10, and 20 minutes after occlusion. The results show that immediately after occlusion there is a 200% ± 30% (mean ± standard deviation) increase in laser-induced fluorescence in the infarct zone, a 110% ± 30% increase along the border, and no significant change in the area outside the infarct. The fluorescence in the infarct reaches a plateau in 5 minutes at 270% ± 30%, whereas along the border it reaches a peak near end ischemia of 110% ± 40%. With the first dose of cardioplegic solution, fluorescence increases outside the infarct and decreases inside the infarct and along the border to 120% ± 30%, where it remains for all areas until the aortic crossclamp is removed. Fluorescence then drops to 70% ± 20% and finally returns to baseline after 5 minutes of recovery. All of these shifts in laser-induced fluorescence were statistically significant (p < 0.01). The changes noted with doses of cardioplegic solution reflect the hypothermic and hyperkalemic effects on the myocardium. Laser-induced fluorescence provides a sensitive and specific method of monitoring myocardial ischemia during the operation. It also provides instantaneous feedback of metabolic changes that may be useful in evaluating the effects of different cardioplegic regimens and in monitoring reperfusion injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-225
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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